Brand Master Podcast logo

Brand Strategy In Experiential Design (W/ SuperTonic)

Brand Master Podcast logo

Brand Strategy In Experiential Design (W/ SuperTonic)

In today’s episode of the Brand Master Podcast I’m joined by Brand Master Academy Graduate, Brand Strategist and experiential design expert Paula Murray From Supertonic agency in Scotland 

Supertonic is a multi-award-winning design agency of experience creators, brand builders and community makers… 

Working with household name brands such as PERNOD RICARD, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and MARTINI, they integrate brand strategy & communications into the design of environments to create unique and memorable spaces for brand experiences. 

I really enjoyed chatting with Paula who came across Brand Master Academy when looking to expand her agency services to focus more on strategy and brand thinking… 

And it really does shine a light on the fact that no matter what brand building vertical you come from whether its  




Identity design 

Or Experiential design… 

All roads lead back to brand strategy and asking deeper questions to shape the right brand perceptions 

Strategy In Experiential Design (W/ Paula Murray)

One-click subscribe for video updates

Paula Murray Journey

Supertonic Project image

Stephen Houraghan

Paula is a student of Brand Master Academy and she runs an agency on the east coast of Scotland between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and she works with Prestigious clients.

She’s bringing strategy into to their world and using that on a day-to-day basis and trust me, you will know some of these clients.

I was super impressed by the work that’s Supertonic we’re doing. 

Before we get into all of that, Paula, can you give us a bit of a background as to your journey in the creative space and how you arrive to where you are today working with these big clients?

Gathering at supertonic event

Paula Murray

I’m an interior designer, so I studied at the Glasgow School of Art. I’ve been working as a designer.

Now for nearly three decades and I’d always been extremely interested in storytelling and back in the day.

When I was kind of fresh outta the packet, a young designer, I was drawn to some interpretive exhibition design for museums and galleries and I loved it.

We just had an opportunity to kinda work alongside teams who sometimes it was people’s life’s work that we were interpreting and trying to make accessible for a visitor to a museum or a gallery or an exhibition.

I did that for 16/17 years and that took me all around the world from China, Australia, Berlin and then I came back to my Homeland Scotland around 2000.It was really interesting because I was seen as a senior designer in my field and I joined a team who are terrific and they did.

Proper interior design, not exhibitions, is what I’d been doing and so that was my first job into really thinking about how a brand is put together. 

Now as an interior person, I’m always gonna come at it from the built environment first, just cause it’s my first lump and so, I think seeing how that kind of shaped up and the team, they very strong on the kind of on the brand side.

Supertonic alchohol brewery

They would develop brands on behalf of organizations from everything from 2D to 3D  environments and that really piqued my interest. 

I suppose I started at that point to move away from doing exhibitions, move more into interior design for commercial spaces

The thing that was interesting for me was I just felt at the time that I’d maybe skipped a number of the early building blocks. I’d found myself kind of landed in a kind of quite a senior post and what I just felt like a complete imposter.

I remember at one point gonna Ross my boss and just saying you, I’ve had a promotion and I was the creative director one a number of creative directors and I was like, Ross, can I just go back to being a designer?

I nervous at this and he was like, they’re just, you’re been fine, don’t be that. I carried on for a while, I was like, oh God, I go work again tomorrow and that just was not like me. I’d never shown up like that. So it took me probably a year of going what am I gonna do?

Making the decision was much harder than actually just going, right, actually, I just need to leave and I need to go back to really making sure that I understand the building blocks,

Because if I am ever in the future, I have an opportunity to work with people, I won’t be able to support them in a way that I felt I just wasn’t able to.

So that journey then took me to, as just started working as a freelancer.  worked under the name of Subtonic, so sexually protonic pop, 14, 15 years ago.

For all intents and purposes, just a freelancer working with them sort of stables groups of people to deliver projects on behalf of clients and that’s been, it’s just been the most fascinating journey. 

It allowed me probably to go up and speed that I think that our confidence is in many ways is a direct of what someone is gonna feel like they can or cannot do. If there’s one thing that probably holds most people back is just themselves.

Discovering Fundamentals of Branding and Creative Leadership

Woman giving her speech to team

Stephen Houraghan

Tell me about those fundamentals that you felt that you were missing out on because you found yourself obviously in this quite prestigious role guiding all of these creatives on brand and obviously that had not been your route to the position that you held. 

Tell me about where you felt those fundamentals and where did you pick them up along the way?